Rosy Cole

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Rosy Cole was born and educated in the Shires of England. Her writing career started in her teens. Four apprentice works eventually led to publication of two novels. Life intervened, but she returned to authorship in 2004. She has worked as a Press Officer and Publisher's Reader and is a member of the Society of Authors. Among widespread interests, she lists history, opera, musicals, jazz, the arts, drawing and painting, gemmology, homoeopathy and alternative therapies. Theology also is an abiding interest. As a singer, she's performed alongside many renowned musicians and has run a music agency which specialised in themed 'words-and-music' programmes, bringing her two greatest passions together. Rosy's first book of poetry, THE TWAIN, Poems of Earth and Ether, was published in April 2012, National Poetry Month, and two other collections are in preparation. As well as the First and Second Books in the Berkeley Series, she has written several other historical titles and one of literary fiction. She is currently working on the Third Book in the Berkeley Series. All her books are now published under the New Eve imprint. Rosy lives in West Sussex with her son, Chris, and her Springador, Jack, who keeps a firm paw on the work-and-walkies schedule!

Venice Terminal

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In Memory of G, a fellow pilgrim for such a short distance...

 

We were on a train from Padua,
racing towards the Venice lagoon,
when I spotted the child,
two years old, or thereabouts,
a halo of honey-kissed curls
and eyes of molten brown,
like molasses perpetually outpoured.
Expectant, trusting, vibrant with life,
his countenance so beautiful, he stole my breath.
His mother spoke: he gazed at her in rapture,
as if pearls of wisdom fell from her lips,
as if his joy depended on her gentling,
his mind searching the imprint
of a fable only it could measure,
the eyes grown sombre with inchoate loss
of heaven beyond a consuming gulf.

That child captured my heart
in one cataclysmic instant of knowing,
of being plunged into the essence of him,
while we sped from Europe's ancient
seat of learning towards deluged ways
and stones that told of mercantile pride
in affluence and influence
at this crossways of cultures,
where barques blew inshore,
freighted with silks and spices,
tea and sweetmeats, muslins,
dyes, attar of roses and
lapis lazuli blue as summer midnight,
a city where craning Gothic
confronts rich mosaics and the labyrinthine
excesses of dissembling Byzantium.

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To this day, I know not if he was an apparition
conjured from some buried pining for lost youth.
Alighting at the station, I saw no trace.
But what had been rendered in high relief,
inspiring agonies of curdled joy, was forged in truth
and wreathed in the mystery of a closer sphere.
Suddenly, that child was everywhere!
In all the frescoes of St Anthony at Padua,
who embraced the infant and Madonna lily -
token of a fragile, stainless gift -
in the bronze statue, offering earth one hand
whilst drawing down the cherub from the skies
with the other, their fingers touching; an echo
of Michelangelo's lightning moment of Creation.
I dwelt long in the courtyard of the venerable magnolia,
ravished by eternity.
 
There was no sharing, no way the words would form.
Travel tickets conveyed no separate journey,
our shadowed pasts divergent and our mission matchless.
As pilgrims, it was the closest we ever got.

My unshod feet still haunt those ancient streets
in the supernal multiverse of gilt and guiltless cities.
The Vision melts the stark and leaden planes of Here.
A nun, singing like an angel, banished dissonance,
floating arpeggios that linger still in purer air.
Outside, a beggar, drunk on grappa, cringed at heel-height streetscapes,
shuffled and strained to grasp the feet of passers-by.
What is there but prayer, inspired by glimpses of Transfiguration?

The last day, we returned to Venice, bound for home.
His nagging pain, dismissed by medics, was graven in fatigue.
Metal wings clove terrestrial darkness, new dawns forgotten.
We have been blessed and fortified for this, I thought.
A week later, they handed him over to palliative care.
There was nothing to be done.
The dream of far-flung shores and bold discovery, just that.
By summer, he was gone.

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from THE TWAIN, Poems of Earth and Ether

Copyright

© Copyright Rosy Cole, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2015

Recent Comments
Founder Member
Venice Terminal is one of those pieces that call to mind incidents from my own and others' lives. G was your husband? In your ment... Read More
Saturday, 26 September 2015 02:55
Founder Member
The fact that you remember the particulars to her passing is poinient enough. I was blessed to be one of the steel magnolias in ... Read More
Saturday, 26 September 2015 07:39
Katherine Gregor
Words fail me, but my heart reaches out to you.
Saturday, 26 September 2015 12:04
859 Hits
5 Comments

Releasing Angels From Granite

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'I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.' Michelangelo.



A heartfelt, hopeful and honest screed for scribes...

 

There is always a chance…

There is a chance that your novel will snag the attention of some influential agent who understands where you're coming from and how the dynamics of the marketplace might be harnessed to your book, that he/she will carry the rest of the team and that you will get to edit and polish it under the eye of a sympathetic and enthusiastic editor.

There is always a chance that you will eventually hear that a publishing house wants to pick up the work. It could take a year, or two...or three...

There is always a chance that you will get a non-returnable advance…

There is always a chance that you will attract sales, sell online, to bookshops, to libraries, achieve foreign rights…

There is a chance that your work will gain sufficient interest for said agent to want to see follow-up titles…

There is even an off-the-scale chance that, in terms of success, you'll become the next J K Rowling… (When nothing is certain, anything is possible...)

But bear in mind…

Such phenomenal luck happens by accident. No one predicts it. No one contrives it. No one knows why or how it comes about, though in retrospect reasons will be assigned, patterns recreated with superstitious obsession and hopes staked on dreams and hot air.

Rather…

Write because it is your own sacred path to comprehension of the world and humanity...

Because you want to share some of those revelations...

Because it puts life's joys and agonies in a truer perspective...

Because you have a story to tell and, by heaven, you're going to tell it…

Write, develop the knack of objective appraisal, and refine your process. The insights gained by commitment alone will work greater wonders than an MFA, or Creative Writing Degree… (New authors seldom believe this!)

Write...and keep writing...and you will have many adventures and epiphanies…

Write...because it will do the work of the Sculptor on the glistening marble (granite, maybe, for most of us!) that is the unique You...and will thereby change the universe…

And for those following the dream of fame and fortune, it may be worth noting…

There is is no automatic connection between writing well and the ability to write and construct fiction.

Releasing cherubs from stone is not for everyone in that sense.


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Margaret Drabble's writing room, jigsaw pieces on the table.

Copyright

© Copyright Rosy Cole 2015

Recent Comments
Monika Schott
Gorgeous, Rosy. ... Read More
Wednesday, 19 August 2015 20:26
Rosy Cole
Moni, that's much appreciated. Thanks! :-)
Friday, 21 August 2015 16:32
Ken Hartke
Thanks, Rosy, I needed to see this today.
Wednesday, 19 August 2015 22:07
1237 Hits
9 Comments

Echoes of Mercy, Whispers of Love

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'To continue one's journey in the darkness with one's footsteps guided by illumination of remembered radiance is to know courage of a peculiar kind – the courage to demand that light continue to be light even in the surrounding darkness.'

This quotation from Howard Thurman prefaces award-winning writer, Aberjhani's volume of poetry, THE BRIDGE OF SILVER WINGS. For me, it just about sums up the human predicament which he elaborates upon with stunning effect.

Haloes, rainbows, the cycle of the seasons and the full spectrum of emotions from love to hate to love are explored in its pages.

These verses are packed tight with powerful images that come thick and fast like a blessed assault upon the mind and heart. They ring with philosophy, with compassion, with hope and with tokens of resurrection. And they are sometimes barbed with challenges, as in Angel of War:


'Does the potential for peace make the reality of hate sweeter?'

And in Angel of Healing:

'Dare to love yourself as if you were a rainbow with gold at both ends.'


Aberjhani's writing blows the mind and frees the psyche of any rigid assumptions about ancestral heritage. Here, our collective experience is starkly rendered. The transparency of one culture overlays another, and another, to form the daguerrotype of possibilities that is homo sapiens, interacting, almost like the elements themselves, with the created world and modified only by context and its imperatives.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in All Night in Savannah the Wind Wrote Poetry. The gale knows nothing of Time. It is a primeval force. It has seen all mankind's feats, frustrations and follies before and is a screeching reminder, 'like knives on fire', of what comes next in the logical gamut of human reaction.


'...they [the winds] cast and recast

nets of lexicons inside the womb

of the river's roaring belly, hauling up myths

born in Georgia and legends sung in Carolina...'


'...wind typed furiously remembrances of Buddha;

on the aching spines of weeping pines it carved

the bleeding parables of Christ and

the pleading hadiths of Muhammad,'


'Wind of Confederate blood boiling gray miseries

Wind of black slaves dancing juju jazz charisma.'


This is the language of the Book of Revelation and it is blinding. With rhythms like these, you might well feel that the Creation of Man was a Bad Idea, one of God's regrettable afterthoughts.

As well as the melting-pot of traditions and civilisations, there is a blurring of the boundaries of the senses. We tend to identify them singly but we know they don't function alone. In Sunday Afternoon and the Jazz Angel Cometh, they seem to coincide in an orgasmic reunion which not only celebrates life but redeems it.


'As history bleeds forbidden light

thunder-heavy tears drip flavored adagios,

splash and explode into champagne solos.


...In the center of time's thorny labyrinth there you

are – naked you swallow quasars and spit raw genius,

cook your poems fresh, make music, make sense,

make life.'


The Poet-Angels Who Came to Dinner is reminiscent of the biblical parable of the King planning a banquet for guests who declined his invitation. He then sent out his servant into the highways and byways to round up the dregs of humanity. It also echoes Christ's feeding of the multitude and the burning inspiration felt by the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus who failed to recognise the stranger walking beside them. Only in the breaking of bread as a guest at their table did they surprise the Risen Lord.

These presences are termed “Peace-Be-Still” and “As-Goes-Love-So-Goes-Life”. They manifest themselves as the poet prepares his lone and paltry supper, transforming the fare into an epicurean delight. A knock at the door heralds uninvited guests and with a renewed benevolence of spirit, he finds he has much to share.

There are harrowing pieces, too. Once Was a Singer for God (remembering Nekia) pays tribute to a gospel singer whose life was blighted by every kind of cruelty and despair, but whose sufferings, the writer says, 'coated your tongue with heaven's favor'. She lives again within the memory of those honeyed vocals which are earnest of her bid for Heaven.


'No one knew how you transformed

scars on your back into scented songs...


Was that your mind running naked through the West

while your soul warbled haikus in the East?'


There is a poem for New Orleans in the grip of Katrina, for remembrance of September 11, 2001, for Christmas and New Year's Eve, for Hallowe'en, for Valentine Days and Nights, for Earth Days and Seasons, for Grace and for Gratitude, a whole catalogue of situations in which the toiling race is cast upon the breast of Fate. And in the shrillest reaches of despond, isolation, torment, pain, the appropriate Angels stoop in benediction. Their spreading wings are linked into an arch that paves the way to Deliverance, to the Land of Hope and to Salvation, where anguish dies and destruction is swallowed in the antithesis of itself.


ANGEL OF EARTH DAYS AND SEASONS


A soft dream of green

colors starlit intentions

with sincerity.


In your hands winter

is a book with cloud pages

that snow pearls of love,


Your flight shines classic -

composed of symphonic night

sand honey-hued days.


Inside your laughter

spring's kiss animates

the beatof summer's warm song.


In your hair oceans

leap with sky-blue abandon

and sacred timelines.


Eyes of bright autumn

stare with red tear-stained wisdom

at human regret.


Bombs explode gashes

that flicker tales of men's blood

splattering your lips.


Rivers of poets

flow blues-heavy urgencies

naked on your knees.


Even when muddy

your wings sparkle bright wonders

that heal broken worlds.


In the dancing fields

of your sweet and holy ways

heaven blossoms gold.


I have indulged myself and the reader with copious quotation, but there are scores more, just as good and even better. Aberjhani's work repays revisiting again and again. This is surely a sign of consummate talent.

 

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Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aberjhani

Aberjhani is also a member of Creative Thinkers International. I am proud to call him a friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
Angel of Healing: 'Dare to love yourself as if you were a rainbow with gold at both ends.' It's so beautiful, I could weep.... Read More
Tuesday, 11 August 2015 20:38
Rosy Cole
Yes, I agree. And what the poet means here has nothing to do with ego or narcissism, but a sacred work of the Creator. It's a wond... Read More
Wednesday, 12 August 2015 10:01
Founder Member
Loving myself as if I were a "rainbow with gold at both ends" is something I can only imagine in the next life. But I like the tho... Read More
Thursday, 13 August 2015 00:00
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4 Comments

Travelling With Hope

 

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Measure not the work until the day's out and the labour's done.  Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 

I write therefore I am. To tweak Descartes a little. Even he had to take up the pen!

It's what I do, what I have to do. It is the oxygen of life. To live without it is to skate across the bewildering surface of things, loose in the universe and likely to come to grief.

Writing gives the whole of existence meaning, purpose and dimension. It also lends an overarching sense of direction, threaded with milestones. Rather than the reverse, it actually seems to expand time. Time may fly, but in retrospect, it feels as though distance has been covered. It's that thing where when you've travelled long hours in one day, you can't believe it was only that morning you set out.

In the beginning was the word...and I am in a glorious, perpetual struggle to construe the world as I see and experience it in words, to tame the worst of it and to catch the wonder of it as it flies. As Robert Browning's Fra Lippo Lippi says:

'...we're made so that we love
First when we seem them painted, things we have passed
Perhaps a hundred times nor cared to see.'

The epiphany first struck me when I was twelve and confined to bed at home and in hospital for a whole term with rheumatic fever. There was a lot of tedious catching up to do, copying from the work of exemplary pupils at the behest of our teachers. But along with the textbooks and essays came a barrel of goodies, among them a batch of paperback historical novels. English had always been my forte and soon I was itching to try my hand. I came up with a tale set in 1745, the year prior to Culloden – can't remember the title – in which the spunky and beautiful heroine, Kate Barclay (yes, that is rather clairvoyant, though the spelling is different!) and her heroic lover Ashley Somebody, attempted to locate smuggled treasure and were involved in a nail-biting chase by Bow Street Runners.

This colourful tale was destined to remain unfinished. It was back to school with an embargo on sports and dancing for a while. But I had opened the door into a realm I never knew existed, much like Mary Lennox in Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden. Here was a magical retreat from unhappiness. None could enter, nor demolish it. Having been confined for several months without the proper use of limbs, I realised that as long as I had a brain, this sanctuary need never be forfeited.

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Well, that was then. The demands of education and the workplace took over the way they do. But I always assumed I'd be an author. I used to daydream during English Literature, as the sun shafted through the high windows on to my halting prose, about getting a novel published before the age of twenty-five. I didn't quite make it, but by the time my first book came out, the precursor edition of Next Year In Jerusalem, I'd written three novels which aroused attention; four, in fact. One I discounted because it was a real muscle-loosening exercise and was too heavily influenced by Jane Eyre – which is surprising since I dislike that novel's air-starved longing

The MSS went the rounds of a small handful of publishers. All responded favourably on sleek headed notepaper - they were different days!! - and described them as close to acceptance, while logging an interest in developments. The rejection slips were to come long after my early published work which included the first edition of My Mother Bids Me. I realised that an apprenticeship had to be served and was convinced I could do better. Of those novice works, only one remains and there are no plans to publish it. The rest were binned long ago!

By the late eighties, Michael Sissons, the distinguished agent at PFD, asked to see my published novels and called for an interview during which he made encouraging sounds about the Mary Cole story. Unfortunately, my circumstances were changing at that point. He told me that if I were ever on the breadline, I'd be a bestseller. (He wasn't the first, or the second, to tell me that, either.) But my nerve failed. I needed to try and secure a steady income and, after seven or eight novels, two of them abandoned, the muse was beginning to stall. The phenomenon of 'overwriting oneself' described by Jane Austen was taking its toll and I shelved novel-writing for many years.

I have written in two genres historical and literary. However, the main thrust of my work is historical, contemporary subjects being addressed in poetry these days.

At present, my head is in all that concerns Book Three of the Berkeley Series, the final novel chronicling the remarkable life of Mary Cole, 5th Countess of Berkeley, who quietly defied most of the female conventions of her day. She is remarkable for having 'done it her way' without rebelling against the social machinery of the Georgian and early Victorian era. Mary was a woman of character, energy, acumen and beauty. She had one or two deadly enemies in high places (whose advances she'd eluded) but, on the whole, people seemed to fall easily under the spell of her gentle integrity. This, in itself, was enough to cause friction.

'In the can', there's a 'modern' novel, Entertaining Angels, long awaiting an editing window. It's the story of a dysfunctional family, struggling with the fallout of two World Wars in pre-Millennium Britain. The structure is experimental and I'm not at all satisfied with it.

At present, my head is in all that concerns Book Three of the Berkeley Series, the final novel chronicling the remarkable life of Mary Cole, 5th Countess of Berkeley, who quietly defied most of the female conventions of her day. She is remarkable for having 'done it her way' without rebelling against the social machinery of the Georgian and early Victorian era. Mary was a woman of character, energy, acumen and beauty. She had one or two deadly enemies in high places (whose advances she'd eluded) but, on the whole, people seemed to fall easily under the spell of her gentle integrity. This, in itself, was enough to cause friction.

'In the can', there's a Marion Grace novel, Entertaining Angels, long awaiting an editing window. It's the story of a dysfunctional family, struggling with the fallout of two World Wars in pre-Millennium Britain. The structure is experimental and I'm not at all satisfied with it. In any case, I may edit out a quarter to a third of each book before it's done.

There's also one volume of poems, The Twain, Poems of Earth and Ether, and two others in preparation. I've been a closet scribe of verse for years, but have never thought to seek publication. This new venture is the result of a warm and enthusiastic response to samples posted on the late Red Room site. The problem with entering competitions and seeking publication under someone else's imprint is that you aren't free to post your poems when and where you like (and where they might very well reach a larger audience!)

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In recent years, writing has become a full-time occupation. This, together with research, blogging, publishing, administering Green Room and generally trying to keep abreast of mine and other websites on which my books have a presence, involves the greater portion of my waking hours.

I set up New Eve Publishing in 2007 and handle all my own work – with the help of a personal contact or two – as I believe it's the only realistic option left for 'midlist' authors. Life's too short to spend years trying to catch the coat-tails of a tired publishing industry which operates on a presumption of rejection. Fiction is a fickle paymaster and the bottom line is that the trade, while it may take a gamble on clones of blockbusters, does not have the money to risk on unknown writers. This won't stop us tearing our hair out and trying to rewrite our story several different ways in order to appeal to a perceived market. Since New Eve began, I haven't submitted at all to mainstream since I don't want to view indie publishing as a default position, but a worthy enterprise in its own right. It could be that in the future, I might do so for a specialist project only.

I'm aware, too, that age is also a drawback in contemporary publishing which is widely suspected to have a Maginot line around the forty mark for unknown writers. Contrast that with the advice when I set out: Never attempt to write fiction before the age of thirty. You won't have digested your life experiences by then. By my count, this gives writers a ten year window to make good within the painfully pedestrian book world.

It's satisfying to be in control of the schedule and the whole creative process of book production. Yes, it does fall behind with unexpected life events, but at least there's no contract to lose. As regards sales, I'm hardly worse off than mainstream which admittedly wasn't wonderful, but I am in a totally different league as regards a steadily expanding readership (which wouldn't be possible inside the constrictions of traditional publishing). Luckily, I have a modicum of experience in publicity and promotion and need to do a lot more on that front. It is, of course, time-consuming, but would a publishing contract relieve this pressure? I don't think so. Not these days.

It will always be a major objective to increase core readership and to generate significant income, but I'm not looking for the Big Time. To be responsible for the process yourself - with the advice of generous contacts - doesn't cost the earth. Yes, it's a steep learning curve and a challenge to your skill-set, but it's a great boost to confidence. It really is like pulling out into the fast lane and seeing obstacles disappear in the rear view mirror.

So, as long as I'm blessed with a brain, I'll keep writing. It's my vehicle. They say it's the journey that counts!

 

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Here's a crystal clear Guardian article on the subject of writing and publishing. Though it concerns children's books, the wisdom holds good for authors in general, especially those who write fiction.

Salient quote: 'If you weren’t happy before you had a book published then you won’t automatically be happy after. And no one really warns you about the hard work involved in being an author: the rewrites, the self-promotion, the disappointment and relentlessness.'

And be sure not to miss To Be Or Not To Be Agented, That Is The Question

Salient quote: 'Publishers have eliminated midlist authors, she told me – the authors publishers traditionally expect to grow. But now they don’t grow writers. Instead they are looking for one hit wonders.'

Recent Comments
Stephen Evans
I wonder how may of us have similar origin stories - mine was asthma and the Tom Swift Boy Scientist series.
Wednesday, 05 August 2015 23:35
Rosy Cole
Way back, for a couple of years, I attended a weekly Art Course and I remember a discussion about how inspiration and renewed visi... Read More
Friday, 07 August 2015 18:27
Founder Member
There was always the lure of a blank sheet of paper. Drawings and stories. The only things that prompted me to draw and write were... Read More
Thursday, 06 August 2015 04:07
1144 Hits
8 Comments

Latest Comments

Ken Hartke To Lucinda, Whoever You Were
24 June 2017
Thanks, Rosie. She has been gone 100 years but is still a presence.
Rosy Cole To Lucinda, Whoever You Were
24 June 2017
Love this. Brimful of poignancy and humanity.
Founder Member The Delight of Hand-Writing
19 June 2017
Lovely piece of writing ☼ Reminds me to befriend my fountain pen again. I wrote the first 3 chapters...
Stephen Evans Something Didn’t Happen
14 June 2017
I wrote it some time ago but it did seem strangely appropriate.
Rosy Cole Something Didn’t Happen
13 June 2017
The story of modern News media. This just about sums it up http://www.pilgrimrose.com/index.php/33-t...

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